Hunted ele­phant found dead in Bago Re­gion

The Myanmar Times - - News - KYI KYI SWAY news­room@mm­times.com

A DEAD ele­phant was dis­cov­ered in a Bago Re­gion dam’s reser­voir with a poi­son ar­row in its neck on July 29.

The an­i­mal’s tusks had not been re­moved when of­fi­cials from the Kyauk­taga Forestry Depart­ment came across it in the reser­voir of the Ye Nwe dam in Kyauk­taga town­ship.

The tusks were about 16 inches (0.4 me­tres) long by 5 inches in di­am­e­ter, said Bago Re­gion Forestry Depart­ment as­sis­tant di­rec­tor gen­eral U Lynn Htin. They were re­moved from the ele­phant by the lo­cal forestry depart­ment and will be handed over to its Union-level coun­ter­part.

“They did not have time to con­tinue with their plans for the dead ele­phant,” said Kyauk­taga Forestry Depart­ment head of­fi­cer U Sann Yu, im­ply­ing that the kil­ler had poached the an­i­mal in­tend­ing to har­vest its ivory tusks.

Those re­spon­si­ble for the killing re­main at large. Bago city po­lice and the lo­cal forestry depart­ment are jointly in­ves­ti­gat­ing, U Sann Yu said.

In to­tal, 15 po­lice of­fi­cers have been as­signed to the probe, said Bago city Po­lice Sergeant U Chit Win.

“Maybe it could not climb up out of the wa­ter be­cause of the poi­son wound,” U Sann Yu said. “Ele­phants are good at swimming. They can usu­ally swim well.”

The Ye Nwe dam is near the side of a moun­tain in Bago Re­gion that has been des­ig­nated a for­est and ele­phant con­ser­va­tion zone, an area where many wild ele­phants roam freely, said U Sann Yu.

On July 30, after a vet­eri­nar­ian com­pleted an au­topsy on the ele­phant, the pachy­derm was lifted from the wa­ter and its car­cass was burned.

The gov­ern­ment on June 5 em­braced the anti-an­i­mal traf­fick­ing theme of this year’s World Wildlife Day, with Pres­i­dent U Htin Kyaw telling Con­ser­va­tion Depart­ment staff at an event mark­ing the oc­ca­sion, “You must take ac­tion to stop it. You re­ally need to do it.”

A June 7 re­port in the state-run Global New Light of Myan­mar said Myan­mar had seen a spike in cases of trad­ing in ele­phant parts this year, with more than 30 cases, com­pared to an av­er­age of 13 in pre­vi­ous years. The ad­min­is­tra­tion has vowed to step up en­force­ment of pro­hi­bi­tions on poach­ing and the trade in il­licit an­i­mal parts, in­clud­ing by clos­ing down a mar­ket in Mongla, Shan State, no­to­ri­ous for the ex­otic and of­ten il­le­gal spec­i­mens on of­fer.

If ap­pre­hended, those re­spon­si­ble for the ele­phant killing in Kyauk­taga town­ship will face charges for vi­o­lat­ing an­i­mal pro­tec­tion laws. If con­victed, they could face a K50,000 fine and/ or up to seven years in prison.

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